Monday, August 6, 2007

Regretting South Dakota

Some days, when it's Monday and 100 degrees outside it can be hard to get motivated to write. Fortunately, the NYT's Adam Liptak did my job for me today in his column "Putting the Government's Words in the Doctor's Mouth." Detailing South Dakota's draconian law requiring doctors to advise women seeking an abortion that "they will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being."


This admonition reminds us of Justice Kennedy's conclusion in Planned Parenthood v. Gonzales that "while we find no reliable data to measure the phenomenon, it seems unexceptional to conclude some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained. Severe depression and loss of esteem can follow."

I'm sorry, but if there's no RELIABLE DATA to measure the phenomenon, how can he possibly conclude that it exists at all, let alone enough to make it into a SCOTUS decision? Sadly, laws and language such as this only make it more difficult for women to access a legal, safe medical procedure.

I don't seek to discount the very real sorrow of the woman who may come to later regret a decision that she did her best with at the time, but I hardly think it means that ALL (or even most) women feel the same way. At the end of the day, abortion is a very private, personal decision and politicians really have no place interfering it. Makes me long for that rallying cry: Keep your laws off my body.

1 comment:

Brycenyc said...

Severe depression and lost of self esteem due to regret can occur for many different things--including actually having the child (postpartum depression has some real stats to work with, rather than a politician's hunch). Even if the stats did prove his hunch to be true, I can't accept later regret as a reason to ban a health procedure. It would be like banning tatoos just for the reason that when some people grow up they think it was a stupid idea.